Townsend, Tennessee - Fly Fishing in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, East Tennessee and Western North Carolina

Welcome to the Fishing Report from the Great Smoky Mountains.  It is 41 degrees outside and raining.  The rain began at 5:45 am.  Today’s high temperature will be 48 degrees.  Tomorrow’s high will be around 59 degrees. We will see temperatures in the 60’s Wednesday.  We have a chance for rain every day through Wednesday.

Little River is flowing at 455 cubic feet per second (cfs) or 2.32 feet on the gauge.  This is a very fishable level.  Median flow for this date is 344 cfs.  The water temperature is 42.6 degrees at 6:15 am.

Fishing will improve this week.  I talked to two customers yesterday who fished Little River for a couple of hours.  One caught a nice brown trout.  The other lost what he thinks were two large fish, stripping streamers.  What he actually got were strong strikes.  They were trying to catch large trout. 

We are of course wondering what the water temperatures will be this week.  We are looking for 50 degrees.  Yesterday, a lot of snow melted, at least in the low elevations. The water temperature never dropped.  It rose all day. 

I think the temperature will continue to rise.  We will have a couple of cold days and nights in the forecast later this week. We’ll see a dip then. What we will have is near normal temperatures at times during this period.  Most days will be slightly colder than normal.  Last month was much colder than normal. 

Another customer I talked to yesterday reported seeing some blue quills on the water below the confluence of the three prongs of Little River.

What we will see at the shop are more people fishing.  We are already seeing more people in the shop.  Will we see spring hatches this week?  Maybe.  This will not be the week to plan your once in a year trip to the Smokies.  Take that trip later.  If we do see spring hatches, they will likely be sporadic.  What we are waiting for is 50 degree water temperatures and I don’t know if we’ll see much of that this week, if at all.  It might happen.  I can’t say one way or another, even after watching these numbers every day for years.

Personally, Im just glad to see this snow going away.  I’m happy the nightly low temperatures won’t be near zero. 

Dan Munger and I are talking about fishing every chance we get.  It’s my fault.  He’s trying to work and I keep bothering him.  We both enjoy the same kind of fishing and he just bought a Gheenoe.  It is awesome.  I tell him I’m more excited about his boat than he is.  He tells me, I don’t know how excited he is.  I know.  And, boat excitement doesn’t fade over time. 

There is more to owning a boat than just owning a boat.  A boat represents almost unlimited fishing opportunities.  You can always improve a boat.  There are always things you find, that you need to buy, including more boats.  Owning a boat is an ongoing, never-ending, center of excitement. 

Now, that boat could be a canoe, raft, fishing boat, kayak or drift boat.  It might be a bass boat or flats boat.  Maybe it is a paddleboard.  It could be a personal fishing craft.  It’s a tool, for getting you someplace, waders cant take you.

On top of that, a boat floats in water, which is a soothing and relaxing experience. 

They say the two best days of owning a boat are, the day you buy it, and the day you get rid of it.  I agree with the first part.  But, after 54 years of experience, owning boats, I have felt nothing but remorse when I sell or give one away.  I wish I had the storage space and the money, I would have kept them all.

I got my first boat when I was a kid.  It was a 10’ Sears jon boat.  That boat was stolen.  I still beat myself up for not securing it better.  I wish I had it today.

I even long for that 1972 Glastron GT.  It was a horrible fishing boat.  It was built for chasing girls.  James Bond used one for that very purpose, and he flew it over land, out of the water, to escape some sinister bad guy in a helicopter trying to kill him.  Useless as it was for fishing, I would still like to have kept it.

I hurt my back trying to load a square stern, wide and stable, Old Town.  I sold it.  Actually, I practically gave it away.  I forgot at the time, I could have bought a small trailer, eliminating the possibility of hurting my back again.  What was I thinking?  It was an emotional decision, not practical at all.  If I had it to do over, It would still be parked in the barn and probably used on hundreds fishing days.  Remorse is setting in, once again.

I once had a 17’ Boston Whaler with an 80 horsepower motor.  I sold it.  Now, we are talking about some serious remorse. 

A friend of mine mentioned that he wanted to sell his jon boat because he has not used it in a year.  My immediate response was, “Don’t do it”.  “You will regret it”.  “I promise you, that would be a huge mistake”.  I hope he didn’t sell it.

I went through a long phase, wading only, while fly fishing for trout.  I sold a bass boat at the beginning.  I remember saying, “I’m never going to own a boat again”.  Now, 30 years after making that statement, Paula and I have four in service, and two more wood canoes just to look at.  You can probably tell, we have a boat problem.

Have a great day and thank you for being here with us.

Byron Begley
March 2, 2015

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